Saturday, November 2, 2013

Grandma Daso

All Souls' Day. The day to remember those who have been called away from this earth. For me the one person who has been on my mind all day is my maternal grandmother. 

Most of my childhood is a blur for me because like I've mentioned in a previous post, I dumped a lot of it because it wasn't the fondest of memories for me. 

But, today, all the bits and pieces that came in flashbacks were sprinkled with my grandmother. I was very young while she was an active part of my life. I was very naive and impressionable. 

I guess you could say that she played the typical grandma role of spoiling us and letting us do whatever we wanted. Not very many flashbacks came to me today but the one that was the most vivid is what I want to share with you, in her honor. 

From what I recall, she was very much a morning person. She would wake us up by the garlicky aroma of her amazing Filipino style fried rice before the sun broke the horizon. She would tear off the sheets relentlessly and she would practically strip me naked if she didn't have enough pieces of dirty clothes to throw into the wash. She was practical after all. 

I would stumble to the kitchen and sit patiently as she served me a way too large portion for a mere 8 year old. But I loved her fried rice. She used salt instead of soy sauce like everyone else on the island does. And she doused the entire 10 cups of fried rice with garlic powder to even out the massive amount of chopped onions she insisted on including. This is where my love for garlic and onions comes from exclusively. Without a doubt. 

After breakfast and a 64oz glass of Nestle iced tea, I would be rushed to change so we could go to the Saturday flea market. These were the best Saturdays of my childhood. I would always try to hide my excitement because even at 8 I had a loud personality. And if I got too excited she wouldn't allow me to get malagkit (a sweet and sticky rice dessert) which was truly the worst punishment for me. 

We always had second breakfast at the market. It was rice, longansia, and eggs-over easy. Seriously, if she wasn't currently feeding us it was like she was failing as our guardian. This is also where my terrible relationship with food came from. 

Then, to ward off the food coma which we all knew was coming she would make us walk through all the makeshift aisles of the vendors that haphazardly filled the abandoned shipyard parking lot. I developed this fear of getting kidnapped because of this place. It was so creepy and unorganized that a kid could easily get snatched up and thrown into a van without anyone noticing because it was always bustling with people sporadically dodging through the walls of curtains separating one vendor from the next. 

Grandma Daso always sent us home with tons of shit we didn't need. Cheap toys that either fell apart or straight up broke the second we opened the packaging that was held together with scotch tape. I learned quickly to gravitate towards the more quality items available at the flea market. The shoes...

I was the only 3rd grader running around the play ground in platform shoes. No shit my grandmother bought me my first pair of heels. I totally remember them too. They were a shamrock green velvet bootie with laces up the front and a 3" heel with a 1" platform. I wore those suckers everyday! I also remember feeling like a giant with them on. I would jump off the swings at full force and land on my feet like a damn champ. The thought of snapping my ankles never even crossed my mind. 

This is where my shoe obsession stems from. After my grandmother noticed that I wore those things to shit, she then started a little tradition. Every few weeks before we went to the flea market, she would make me promise to behave and if my parents reported to her that I was good, she would buy me new shoes. The fear of not getting a new pair of shoes scared me straight. I followed rules to the tee. 

One of my favorite things as an adult is rewarding myself with a new pair of shoes. Sometimes when I bring home a new pair, and as I'm adding them to my collection, memories of those days at the flea market pop into my head. I smile big time. 

Unfortunately our relationship grew cold after the divorce and I eventually moved to Japan. For reasons I don't feel like getting into today, we pretty much stopped all communication after I left home at 16. I got word of her stage 4 lung cancer and grim prognosis via a Facebook wall post. She passed away 2 months later. I didn't make it back to Guam for the funeral and I never got to say my goodbyes. 

I've made peace with my immaturity towards the whole thing. All I can say now is that I really did love her. She was very generous, too generous in my opinion. But there is so much about me that is a pure reflection of her and in that it is like she is with me all the time. 

Have a beautiful day my friends and buy the damn shoes. 
CrisM

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